September 1, 2016 Fairbanks, Alaska – Earthfiles contacted Knut Kielland, Ph.D., Prof. of Ecology at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Arctic Biology department, on August 31, 2016, to ask about the large antlers disconnected from some males in the 323 reindeer herd that all fell dead at once, even on top of each other, on Friday, August 26th, in Hardangervidda National Park, Norway.

Prof. Kielland said, “I have no idea why so many antlers would be off. I saw that myself in the video of the mass kill and have never seen anything like this before.” One of Prof. Kielland’s colleagues, Prof. Greg Finstad, Manager of the Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, agreed that he had never seen large antlers disconnected from male reindeer like this. Males would not naturally lose their antlers until after the rut around December 2016. Prof. Finstad posed the question: “Could the voltage in a lightning strike blow the antlers off?”

If so, he’s never heard of such a phenomenon before now. A single bolt of lightning can contain up to one billion volts of electricity. But the professors agree there has never been a single known case of one or more reindeers falling dead from a lightning strike prior to August 26th in Norway.

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